Quick Look: Microsoft’s new Surface family and accessories

Microsoft’s 2nd generation products mean more responsive devices and more time unplugged.

surface 2

Surface Upgrades

Microsoft has launched a new generation of its Surface RT and Surface Pro devices, naming them Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, respectively. The company has taken steps to improve speed and battery life in an effort to make them more attractive as mobile devices. New accessories that go along with them mark a further effort to boost battery life and improve their usefulness as mobile devices.

Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro 2

This is a full laptop that runs both traditional Windows x86 applications and new Windows Modern apps. It’s got a new, faster, less power-sapping Intel Core i5 Haswell processor for 75% longer battery life. The photo shows a digital stylus that comes with it and a keyboard that does not. Price: ranges $899 to $1,799 for devices ranging from 64GB  to 512GB. Available Oct. 22.

Surface 2

Surface 2

Surface 2 is the upgraded version of Surface RT, the ARM-based model that only runs touch-centric Windows Modern applications that are available through the Windows Store. It’s got a new power-miser NVIDIA Tegra 4 CPU for 20% more battery life and is slightly thinner than its predecessor. Price: $449 (32GB) $549 (64GB). Available: Oct. 22.

Dual-position kickstand

Dual-position kickstand

The kickstand that props up Surface devices has been updated to lock in two different positions rather than just one. The original, more upright position was designed for desktop use. The second position lies the screen flatter and is meant for when the device sitting on a person’s lap. The new angle is better for viewing but also brings the weight of the device closer to the thigh so it’s less likely to topple off.

Power Cover

Power Cover

The Power Cover accessory contains a battery of its own that supplements the batteries in all the Surface devices, old and new, except Surface RT. For a Surface 2, the cover doubles the effective battery life; for Surface Pro 2 it pushes battery life up 50%. Price: $199.99. Available: 2014.

Docking Station

Docking Station

Any Surface device – old or new - can drop into the docking station, which charges the device and sets it up to connect with an Ethernet LAN, external displays and separate speakers. The idea is to make the portable Surface Pro 2 in particular functional as a desktop. Price: $199.99. Available: 2014.

Type Cover 2

Type Cover 2

Previously, the Surface Type Cover keyboard came only in black, but now comes in four colors. The keys when pressed go down 1 mm less than on the earlier version, making them more responsive and shaving 1 mm off the overall thickness of the cover. The keys are silent and backlit. Sensors turn the lights on only when users’ hands approach the keyboard, saving power. Price: $129.99.

Touch Cover 2

Touch Cover 2

Before, Touch Cover came in five colors, but Touch Cover 2 comes just in black. It features backlit keys and is stiffer than its predecessor. With 10x the number of touch sensors, the device responds to keystrokes more accurately but also supports swipe gestures, acting as a giant touchpad. Price: $119.99.

Car Charger

Car Charger

Part of the effort to  make Surface devices more mobile, the car charger allows users to recharge the battery while they drive from site to site during a business day. It includes a USB port so other devices can also be charged from it. Price: $49.99.

Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition

Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition

This mouse is flexible to flatten for storage and connects via Bluetooth to free up the Surface USB port for other uses. Price: $69.99

Surface 2 Case

Surface 2 Case

Previously all Surface devices were black. Surface 2, though, comes only in the natural metallic color of the magnesium alloy that the case is made from.